SCOTUS Denies Cert in Stem Cell Case

The Supreme Court this week denied cert (that is, refused to hear the appeal) in a case where two scientists are trying to prevent the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) even if it involves stem cell lines that already exist. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them, so the cert denial leaves the Obama administration's policy of allowing such research on existing stem cell lines in place. … [Read more...]

The ‘Science’ of Bigfoot, Done by Press Release

Here's another perfect example of pseudoscience by press release, making breathless claims about the DNA of Bigfoot being sequenced and found to be a new species of hominid that is a hybrid of Homo sapiens and some other species. Ben Radford of the Committee for Scientific Inquiry explains: … [Read more...]

Stem cells in the 2012 Presidential election

This is a guest post by Laurel Barchas, the Director of Academic Outreach for the Genetics Policy Institute and a friend and classmate of my old pal Nick Matzke at Berkley. It's about an upcoming conference on stem cell research and the political implications for that research pending the outcome of the presidential election. … [Read more...]

The Unreality of Reality TV — Or Why NatGeo Should Be Ashamed

One of the more irritating things about the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel, which purport to be pro-science and educational, is how often they put on shows that push egregious nonsense instead of critical thinking. And a new NatGeo show about UFOs is so bad that even the stars of the show are now slamming the network: … [Read more...]

Why Framing Matters, Climate Change Edition

I wrote recently about Jonathan Adler's conservative and libertarian argument for taking climate change seriously and adopting policies to respond to it. Here's a recent paper that supports the importance of framing an argument effectively in order to get people to respond positively to it. The bottom line is that evidence rarely actually changes anyone's mind on a subject they feel strongly about; the thing that can change their mind is an argument that appeals to their values and … [Read more...]

Can We Please Ban the Evolution Article Template?

This article just pisses me off, as has almost every article in the media about evolution, especially human evolution, for as long as I can remember. I swear there must be a template in Microsoft Word for such articles, where the meaningless term "missing link" is already there, along with a title that announces how this changes everything we thought we knew about (fill in the blank). … [Read more...]

WND Pimps Nonsense on Oil Again

Birtherism isn't the only conspiracy that Jerome Corsi, the Worldnutdaily's favorite loony, believes in. He also believes that oil is abiotic and has a new book out about it, with WND promoting it by asking the idiotic question "HOW DID DINOSAURS GET MILES UNDER THE EARTH?" … [Read more...]

Michigan Senate Threatens U of M Over Stem Cell Research

In 2008, Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum that overturned the state's laws against embryonic stem cell research. The University of Michigan, one of the premier medical research facilities in the world, quickly became a hot spot for such research. And now the Republicans in Michigan want to cut its funding over it. Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, delivered an angry speech on the floor in response: … [Read more...]

Vic Stenger’s New Book

Physicist Vic Stenger has a new book out, God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion. It's about Christianity and science, arguing that the religion held back the progress of science for centuries. … [Read more...]

Barton Explains Science and Religion

David Barton has decided that all scientists in the world are doing it wrong. You see, they should really just be reading the Bible because any science that is in conflict with the Bible must be wrong, no matter how much it explains or how rigorously it's tested. … [Read more...]

Santorum Gets It Exactly Backwards

Rick Santorum, author of the infamous Santorum amendment that would have encouraged local schools to teach intelligent design in science classrooms (if it hadn't been removed from the final bill by a conference committee), says that science should stay out of politics: … [Read more...]

Why Science Doesn’t Destroy Wonder

One of the arguments made by many people, from fundamentalist Christians to pagan, new agey types, is that science somehow destroys the "magic" of the world and robs us of our sense of wonder. That argument has never made sense to me at all. Robin Ince gives a TED talk on why it's nonsense. … [Read more...]